A New Video Explains What The 2nd Amendment Is All About.

Sooner or later I knew that the attempt by a student-led coalition at the University of Texas campus to protest the law allowing guns on campus would lead to efforts by various factions of Gun-nut Nation to remind everyone that walking around with a gun is a good thing. And the reason that we should allow guns to be carried anywhere and everywhere is that we all know that guns protect us from crime. After all, a majority of Americans now believe that a gun makes you safer than if you don’t have a gun, so it must be true.

campus           Back in 2008, you may recall that there was a little Supreme Court decision, District of Columbia vs. Heller, which defined the 2nd Amendment as giving Americans the Constitutional protection to keep a handgun in their home.  But the reason I call this s ‘little’ decision is that from the moment the opinion was announced, Gun-nut Nation has been trying to pretend that anything and everything they want to do with a gun comes under the protection of 2nd-Amendment rights.  Want to walk into a Starbucks with an AR slung over your shoulder? You’re just exercising your 2nd-Amendment rights.  Want to walk around with a pistol in your pocket without having to demonstrate that you even know how to load the damn thing, never mind actually use it?  You’re just exercising your 2nd-Amendment rights.

In fact, you aren’t exercising any 2nd-Amendment right at all.  You may be doing what the state you live in lets you do, but there are all kinds of state and local laws covering all kinds of things which let you do this or that, but nobody has ever seen fit to figure out whether such laws are covered by any Constitutional guarantee at all.  But when a group of conservative attorneys decided to test the definition of the 2nd Amendment by using the fact that the District of Columbia wouldn’t let a security guard named Dick Heller keep a handgun in his apartment, the SCOTUS said he could because the 2nd Amendment, as a majority of the Court defined the text, granted him and everyone else Constitutional protection for this specific type of behavior and nothing else. 

One of the areas in which Gun-nut Nation has been particularly busy trying to expand the definition of the 2nd Amendment to go beyond what it means is carrying guns on college campuses.  And the reason for this, hare-brained nonsense to the contrary about how college campuses are rife with crime, is because the gun industry has noticed that the up-and-coming consumer generation – Millennials – don’t seem particularly enamored of guns.  Droids? Yes. Kayaks? Yes. Guns? No.  But if you can get the kids to understand the value of a gun for self-defense, then maybe the gun industry will survive beyond the time that Gun Nuts of my generation disappear.

The anti-gun protest at UT didn’t do anything to reverse the new campus-carry law, but it did generate gobs of publicity because the event organizers cleverly decided to distribute sex toys like dildos as a way of pointing out the stupidity of walking around a college campus with a gun.  And the response to this event took the form of a video which shows a young woman who comes home from participating in the protest, suddenly finds herself confronted by a home invader, whereupon she points the dildo at him in order to defend herself, whereupon the guy pulls out a pistol and shoots her in the head.

The video has been criticized by Students for Concealed Carry as being offensive, but let me break the news gently to that bunch.  If you’re going to promote something as stupid and dangerous as guns on college campuses, then you should hardly be surprised when your argument is taken to the extreme.  After all, aren’t you saying that every law-abiding’ citizen should have the 2nd-Amendment ‘right’ to shoot someone else in the head?

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9 thoughts on “A New Video Explains What The 2nd Amendment Is All About.

  1. Good essay till the gratuitous snark at the very end.

    I don’t think that campus carry laws make campus any safer, but I don’t think there are data saying they make campus more dangerous. Having spent a good part of my life at state universities as a grad student and faculty member, I never felt particularly naked without my gunz strapped on.

    This law seemed to be part leveling the playing field (UT is state property, so the Legislature, being the TX legislature, can do this) and part poking liberal campuses in the eye. Sigh.

    I think that lawsuit by three faculty members is still going through. Its just the injunction that crashed and burned.

    The video was not only offensive but racist. But really, the whole point of campus carry is to promote that stereotype and sell guns, right?

  2. When the Second Amendment, just like the First, is seen as an addendum written to reassure convention delegates that no, even in the face of a federalized standing army, Congress shall make no law requiring a state militia to stand down, and thus the right of each state’s citizens to bear arms is in fact a state’s right issue, legal clarity will at last be universally achieved.

  3. After all, aren’t you saying that every law-abiding’ citizen should have the 2nd-Amendment ‘right’ to shoot someone else in the head?

    Nobody, anywhere, has ever said that….which begs the question as to why the author cannot merely rely on rational discourse, instead of the above…or “gun nut nation” pejoratives. Perhaps he believes his argument isn’t terribly strong, and thus must appeal to emotion.

    What people are saying however, is that it is the natural right of the Citizen to be able to defend oneself self not only at home, but in the public square. To argue otherwise, is to support the notion that only the State has this right and ability, even though law enforcement is under no obligation to protect the life of a Citizen.

    It is adorable however, that even though the Heller decision did not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, it further stated that it did not invalidate laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings…..thus implying quite clearly that the carrying of firearms in public spaces other than sensitive places, is quite in line with the 2nd Amendment.

    • There is no “one-sidedness” to a Constitutional amendment protecting a pre-existing right; since that right does in no way compel the Citizen to exercise it. You’ll have to explain how it’s “racist” however.

    • Thanks for the link. I downloaded it. I see that Eugene Volokh and Josh Blackman reviewed it but surprised that Adam Winkler’s name is not on the list.

    • Admittedly I have to read it but just going through the intro and conclusions, I am not convinced I agree with the author that the 2A, prior to Heller, was limited to “.. protect the state militias from disarmament by the federal government,” although that was part of the rationale. Rather, that question was never addressed head on by SCOTUS. But I’m not a lawyer and my opinion is worth what you and Mike paid for it.

      Not sure about other states but New Mexico law explicitly allows private property owners to declare gun free zones where CCW holders are not allowed to carry their weapons. Seems like a good idea to me–private property is private property and the decision should be up to the property owner. If I can tell people to take their shoes off when they enter my home, or to get lost when they come a-Bible thumping to my front door, I can tell them to leave their hand cannons outside too. Public space is different and those time and place restrictions need to fleshed out appropriately.

      Again, thanks for the link.

  4. A “natural right” does not anywhere mean, by default, self-defense by a gun exclusively. In no human rights charter anywhere is that even implied. Not sure where that idea came from but it did not come from any idea the founders ever had. Natural rights have to do with the basic human condition and elements needed to maintain it: food, water, shelter, clothing, medical care and a fundamental need to uphold them as opposed to suffering and oppression which abridge them. Guns do not factor into the equation because they are not a fundamental necessity for human survival and are in fact, instruments used to do the opposite: destroy life. That’s why they are used in things like wars, riots, and as means for execution. No genuine Human Rights advocate would ever consider gun possession a “natural right.” in a self-defense model. It’s the depths of depravity to think so. To equate gun possession with a “natural right” is to think the taking of innocent life is somehow morally justified through the use of one. That idea is warped beyond belief because “self-defense” is not limited to gun use exclusively. Never has been, never will be. But the right to live without disease, famine, war, pestilence, or under tyrannical regimes is. There’s a world of difference between living in the wealthiest country on the planet and being allowed to whine about your government all day long on Facebook and being subjected to torture or prison as an enemy of the state because you’re a political dissident, or having your village subjected to genocide because your national leader considers you a threat.

  5. Something relevant here.

    http://www.americanbar.org/publications/insights_on_law_andsociety/14/fall-2013/natural-rights–common-law–and-the-english-right-of-self-defens.html

    also, A Essay Concerning the true original, extent, and end of Civil Government
    by John Locke 1690

    Self defense is a natural right. Firearms, like other arms, are simply tools used in support of that right. But in civil society, within limits we agree to respect.

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